Rachel is quiet, self-effacing and understated. What she doesn’t tell you is how much is going on underneath. She’s witty, capable, intelligent and talented. Just reading her breakout novel, Hag, shows you that. I was fortunate to be able to get Rachel to do an interview for me after sharing her wonderful book with me.
Rachel will be my guest on Dellani’s Tea Time Monday June 11 at 4:00 PM Eastern time on Blog Talk Radio
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first book at the age of 12, it was for an English project. We were given physical books to work and write in. My friend was the illustrator and my other friend was the editor and I handled the actual story. It was called: The Shadow and our teacher loved it. We would have gotten an A, but my friend turned it in late. I learned then, never to work with amateurs!
What gave you the idea for your first book?
Hag was inspired by an Oprah show about men on the Down Low. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically where closeted, gay men live publicly, as though they’re straight. They get married and even have kids meanwhile, they’re having sex with men, on the down low. After the show, I wrote a very brief outline and walked away for two years.
I didn’t actually sit down and write the book, until a string of suicides of young, gay men made the news. The outrage and confusion, just made my mind explode with ideas.
What genre do you write?
Young Adult and Children’s.
What do you do to keep yourself focused?
I’m driven by results, I need to see my ideas become reality. So when I say I’m writing a book about transvestite werewolves, I’ll give myself a timeline in which to do it. I hold myself accountable. If I miss a benchmark, I take time out of social life (What little is left!) or I even miss out on sleep to catch up. The threat of sleep deprivation is always a good motivator!
Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?
Right now, I’m sticking with just one, but I’ve been known to juggle many projects at once.
What is your writing process?
It varies with each project. Children’s stories come easily to me. They just flow for me and I can’t really explain that. YA on the other hand, requires a lot of thought because it’s harder to keep the attention of a teenager for 100 pages. Also, you can’t take liberties like you do with little ones. I usually write a more thorough outline and research a lot more for a YA novel.
How do you find your voice?
I don’t, I just keep my mouth shut and let the characters tell their story. It’s sooo not about me!
Do you know your ending before you begin?
What is your latest release?
What other books do you have published?
Where are your books available?
Currently Hag is published only in eBook form at Amazon, but in July, it’ll be available at all major eRetailers. The print edition is due out April 20th.
HAG – Rachel Reuben
Audrey Saldano has learned to be tough. Living on the less posh side of Cleveland, she’s learned to defend herself. The only thing she can’t defend herself against is the pain she feels when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Desmond, with his new girlfriend, Raquel.
Even the appearance of a hot, interesting new guy, Roddai, can’t make her feel any less upset. In fact, Roddai irritates her even more. He’s persistent and, eventually, Audrey finds that she enjoys his company.
Audrey isn’t quite sure what’s going on when Desmond shows up at her home and wants to be friends again. In fact, he asks her out to a carnival and she agrees to go. While there, he’s jumped by a bunch of boys from another school. Desmond fights them off, but gets surrounded. Fortunately, Roddai isn’t far away and jumps in to help Desmond, scaring the other boys off.
For a time, life seems pretty good. She and Desmond are back together and she’s friends with Roddai. Everything is fine until Desmond decides to get even with the guys who jumped him at the Winter Carnival. This time, things don’t go so well and Desmond is seriously hurt. Audrey’s life falls apart. Desmond’s death reveals secrets he’d been keeping, even from her.
Hag is an intense, real life drama for teens. Gritty and hard hitting, Hag closely examines Audrey’s situation and asks the question, “What would you do if…?”
The characters in Hag are well fleshed out and seem authentic to the reader. Audrey is an especially good, three dimensional character. Her grief and anger are very real. While we might not agree with her actions, we can see why she reacts in the way she does. She is tough, independent, self-sufficient and doesn’t rely on others to fight her battles for her.
I really enjoyed Hag is a great coming of age story for young adult readers 16+ and adults. It will make you laugh, cry and cheer.